Addiction to crack and cocaine is a prominent issue in the United States. Both young people and adults are using and abusing powdered cocaine and crack cocaine. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2020, 5.2 million people aged 12 and older used powered cocaine in the past year. Also, in 2020, 657,000 people aged 12 or older used crack in the past year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
How Are Crack and Powdered Cocaine Similar?
Crack and cocaine are the same substances in different forms. Both are derived from the coca plant grown in South America, and each is a stimulant that causes the user to feel energized and awake. Both crack and cocaine cause addiction and users will have intense cravings to do more of the drug.
Each type of cocaine is illegal and can cause an accidental overdose. Today both crack and powdered cocaine are being laced with Fentanyl, and unsuspecting drug users are dying from the lethal effects of Fentanyl. Crack cocaine is usually sought after by long-term drug users, and powdered cocaine is more socially accepted.
Is Crack Cocaine More Addictive?
Crack cocaine is more addictive because it is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream through the lungs to the brain. Still, crack cocaine is processed from powered cocaine to be made to be smoked. Users or dealers will make crack from powdered cocaine by mixing it with baking soda and water and heating it. The addition of sodium bicarbonate makes the powdered cocaine form a crystalized rock that can be heated and inhaled, reaching the blood vessels in the lungs and entering the brain within seconds.
The euphoria from smoking crack is much more potent and, therefore, more addictive. Powdered cocaine that is snorted is absorbed by blood vessels more slowly in the nose and throat and does not cause a surge of the drug to enter the brain as fast.
Injecting Cocaine is Like Smoking Crack
Drug addicts who use cocaine can inject powdered cocaine to achieve the same intensity of a rush that smoking crack gives, and it is even more dangerous and addictive. I.V. drug use is far more dangerous and time-consuming. A powder cocaine addict who shoots the drug must find a vein and syringe each time they get high.
A crack user only needs a glass pipe and lighter to continue smoking crack. However, the risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV, and other diseases that pass from blood or other bodily fluids is much greater for people who shoot up cocaine.
What Are the Effect of Cocaine on the Brain?
The brain reward circuit is damaged and altered by the effects of cocaine, either powered or as crack cocaine. The drug known as cocaine tells the brain to release an incredible amount of dopamine, which eventually depletes as the person continues to use cocaine. Dopamine is what allows people to feel pleasure, and the release and production of it are fine-tuned to help people maintain regular good feelings. When people abuse cocaine, the cells that manage dopamine release and production stop working, and addiction occurs—the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains why this happens.
Normally, dopamine recycles back into the cell that released it. However, cocaine prevents dopamine from being recycled, stopping normal communication. This flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit strongly reinforces drug-taking behaviors. The reward circuit may adapt with continued drug use, becoming less sensitive to the drug. As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses to feel the same high and obtain relief from withdrawal. (NIDA, 2022)
Who is A Crack or Cocaine Addict?
As a result of becoming addicted to crack or powdered cocaine, a person enters a dangerous, costly, and highly addictive lifestyle. Because the effects cause a person to remain awake for days, most crack or cocaine addicts are exhausted and need rest, food, and water. They are also poor, having spent all their money on crack or coke.
Stimulant drugs reduce appetite and cause insomnia, paranoia, and emotional sensitivity. The most common crack or cocaine addict is someone who has struggled with drug or alcohol addictions earlier in life. The good news is that there are evidence-based programs for people addicted to cocaine as crack or as powder.
Help for Crack or Cocaine Addiction Begins With Medically Supervised Detox
Medically supervised cocaine detox includes prescribing safe medications to ease cravings and treat anxiety and depression, both common detox symptoms of cocaine addiction. The cocaine detox also helps patients with safe sleep medications reduce nausea, vomiting, and other medical symptoms common with cocaine addiction and withdrawal.
The cocaine detox admission process begins by calling one of our addiction recovery specialists. They will make all the arrangements for admission into our center within 24 hours.